Stoke City 2-2 Wigan: McArthur & Di Santo complete comeback for Latics

Tony Pulis’ side forfeited a two-goal lead at the Britannia Stadium as the Latics mounted a dramatic comeback to pick up a much-needed point in the battle for survival
Wigan and Stoke continue to hunt for their first league victory of 2013 after they fought out a thoroughly entertaining 2-2 draw at the Britannia Stadium.

The game looked over four minutes into the second half as Peter Crouch doubled Stoke’s lead, which had been given to them by Ryan Shawcross midway through the first half. However, a spirited fightback from Wigan saw James McArthur and Franco Di Santo score fine goals to earn the visitors a point.

Stoke named the same side that were beaten by Swansea in their previous Premier League fixture but Tony Pulis changed his formation to match Wigan with three at the back.

The Latics made two changes from the side that were beaten by Sunderland with Roman Golobart and Roger Espinoza starting in place of Ronnie Stam and Jordi Gomez.

After a quiet opening to the match with both sides having nice possession without ever posing a threat on goal, the deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute through captain Shawcross. Charlie Adam’s poor free-kick was headed onto the back of McCarthy by Jean Beausejour, and Shawcross was on hand to volley the ricocheted clearance past Ali Al-Habsi from close range.

With the home side ahead at the break the second half could have been a fairly quiet affair but within four minutes Stoke had doubled their lead.

Espinoza lost the ball inside the Potters penalty area and the loose ball was quickly cleared to Adam in the middle of the pitch, the Scot raced away from two defenders and fired a low shot towards the bottom corner. Al-Habsi did well to get to the low shot initially, but he could only parry the ball to Crouch who had the simple job of tapping the ball into the open goal.

That could have killed Wigan off, but instead it seemed to galvanise the visitors and seconds later they had a goal back through McArthur. Espinoza was involved again, this time the Honduran played a neat pass in behind the Stoke defence for McArthur to run onto. The midfielder ghosted in behind Shawcross and fired past Asmir Begovic with the outside of his right foot.

With their spirits lifted by the goal Wigan grew into the game and, on the hour mark, grabbed a deserved equaliser. Another neat delivery from Espinoza was the key as he floated a pin-point accurate cross towards the back post where McArthur had drifted away from his marker. The Scot managed to head the ball back across goal and Di Santo was able to volley past Begovic from six yards.

Both sides pushed for a winner in the final 30 minutes but Begovic did well to deny McArthur twice while Stoke huffed and puffed without any real punch upfront.